Fitness for Life
When Covington native, Laura Jacobs eventually topped 179 pounds, she decided it was time to change her lifestyle. Always athletic and a horse lover who grew up competing in English riding and hunter jumping, her weight had never been a problem until college at Southeastern Louisiana University when she went from a size 5 to a size 14. Married with a young daughter, Laura realized that feeling good about herself and getting back into shape had to become a reality.
She signed up with a personal trainer, began working out several times a week and changed the way she ate. “My husband, Jeff, encouraged me by repeatedly telling me, ‘If you don’t fear it, it’s not going to change you.’ Meaning that worrying about something is not going to help me move forward,” she says. A self-professed beach enthusiast, this 5-foot-tall dynamo made getting back to her athletic self a top priority.
Five years later, Laura is now the owner of The Training Firm in Covington and is a certified trainer in kickboxing, injury prevention, nutrition, TRX Suspension Training®, kickboxing skills and choreography, and holds a certification from the Boxing Fitness Institute. She motivates her clients to take control of their bodies, both physically and mentally, and says that “We don’t sugarcoat the issue here; we teach clients how to push themselves to achieve the body they want. Our motto is, ‘Don’t wish for it, work for it.’”
A family-centered business, her husband Jeff, owner of IEM Trucking, recently completed TRX Suspension Training® certification, and works as a personal trainer. Their 13-year-old daughter, Liv, a dance student for ten years, teaches children’s hip-hop classes, is CPR and baby sitter certified, and works in the “Kid Zone,” the on-site child care room for infants to age 11 years available during all classes.
With an emphasis on kickbox training with heavy weight MMA bags; there are three full-time trainers with multi-specialty certifications. There are group classes as well as separate women and men programs with trainers directing every class. “Many people are intimidated when they walk into a gym and have to figure out how to work a machine. Our programs are designed so that clients can jump right into their workout. ‘The Training Program’ is a month-long session that can be done in a group or at a personal level where a trainer varies the workouts to hit every aspect of the body. Our goal is to teach functional training of everyday movements that do not rely on machines,” she says.
The TRX Suspension Training® workout is one example. This suspended harness system was created by a Navy Seal, uses gravity and resistance for a total-body workout, and is favored by trainers, professional athletes and the U.S. military. Modified for all fitness levels, a group class is now available on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Numerous cardio-circuits, treadmills, rowing machine, resistance bars, kettlebells and inventive dance classes are also available to members.
Show off your dance moves in Zumba, Stiletto Strength, a BYOH (bring your own heels) workout in heels, Ballet Barre Boot Camp and Hip-Hop, with mood-boosting dance lights on a plyorobic rubber floor. Installed to ensure the long-term safety of clients, plyorobic flooring uses shock absorption to help prevent leg fatigue, shin splints and other injuries commonly experienced on concrete gym surfaces.
Older kids can have fun also, in kickboxing, hip-hop and other cardio-circuits classes. For each child enrolled in the kickboxing program, a percentage is donated to Hope House, the St. Tammany and Washington Parishes’ Children Advocacy Center. Another special perk for parents needing a few hours out, is the drop-in Kids’ Night on Fridays from 6–9 p.m. With a 45-minute work out, pizza and a movie, children learn the elements of “fitness for life.”
Fitness for life is centered on the entire well-being. Clients are guided through developed fitness programs, nutrition and meal counseling, biweekly body measurements to track progress and most importantly, “to stay off the scale.” “People can be tight in muscle and lose several inches but feel frustrated because they are not losing pounds. They learn that being healthy and looking leaner is achieved by eating wholesome food and having strong muscles,” says Laura.
Brett Todd, a diabetic previously on insulin and other medications, is down by 40 pounds, is off all medications and now controls his condition by diet and exercise. Brett says, “Laura and the other trainers find ways to make the workouts interesting and fun. They are constantly bringing in new ideas and technology so that we are always changing and challenging ourselves.” Another client, Anjel Chatellier, has lost 30 pounds and 20 ½ inches since joining in December, and says, “The Training Firm has totally transformed my entire life. It is not a typical gym, we are a family.”
Having been in a place where she needed to be pushed, Laura says she is rewarded daily with text messages from clients who want her to know that they just put on a pair of jeans that have hung in their closet for years or that a workout was awesome and motivated them. “We tell our clients that the mind will quit a thousand times before your body will. It’s our job to get them to that next level,” says Laura.